September 3rd, 2018 by Luka Manola

How can parents help their children make the right career choices?

The support that parents show their children in the final years of high school education can have a great influence on the child’s confidence and results later in life. Research indicates that when students feel supported by their parents, they have more confidence in their own ability to investigate various careers and to choose one that would be interesting and exciting for them - one that would inspire passion and fuel their grit for the long career run.

However, how can parents feel knowledgeable enough about the ever-changing career environment and job market? How can they provide advice that’s valuable and helpful for their children’s choices? And finally, how can they become trusted coaches to their children?

First of all, parents need to understand that the job market went through significant changes in the past decades, even more so in the last ten years. Many jobs have disappeared; some others will likely disappear in the years to come, while new jobs will be created to offset those displaced by technology. Understanding the increased uncertainty in the job market and the importance of skills that their children will be able to transfer from one area to another is a key initial step to tackling the Future Career Puzzle.

Secondly, while parents should show genuine interest and support for their child’s career plans, they must allow them to discover who they are on their own. This includes providing help in discovering innate talents, skills, and motivations, as much as helping children discover the world of work. One may think: this has been easier said than done – but that is exactly the reason why the role of parents in career counseling will become crucial. The world of work is becoming even more competitive so deep insights in children’s strengths and weaknesses early in their life may be the career vaccine for their future success.

Finally, while parents should certainly advise, they shouldn’t take on the role of deciding instead of their children. Research shows that the children who themselves feel competent regarding career decision-making tend to make more satisfying career choices later in life.

Even though high school students do tend to get support from career counseling services, an informed and engaged parent could be a trusted and valuable coach, enabling a child to get the most out of the career orientation process. However, in order to feel confident enough to coach their children appropriately, parents should also dedicate time to get more involved with career planning process, as well as with the realities of today’s, and especially tomorrow’s, job market. For those seeking for the tools and insights in this area, we are eager to help – so please reach out.

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